Changes in the Ice Boundary of the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, 1947 to 1990


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The position of the ice boundary around the Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica (68°30'S, 78°00'E) was observed using a 43 year record of aerial photography from 1947 to 1990. The southern boundary, formed by Sørsdal Glacier, showed two main areas of ice retreat and no areas of advance. Stagnation and retreat of this boundary is interpreted to be contraction to former limits following the Chelnok Glaciation which occurred 7lt; 700 years BP. The eastern or continental ice sheet boundary showed five sites of rapid, localised incision and downwasting around supraglacial gullies. While no area of continental ice was noted to advance, continued accumulation and firnification of wind‐drifted snow in the proglacial zone of the ice sheet in the southeastern corner of the hills may signify a locally positive ice mass balance. Until ice mass balance studies are carried out in the ablation zone surrounding the hills, evidence concerning whether the ice sheet boundary is retreating, stable or advancing will remain equivocal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Geographical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993


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